Sunday, 17 June, 2018

Why the PGA Tour still needs Tiger Woods

Henrik Stenson takes first-round lead at Bay Hill with eight-under 64 Henrik Stenson is alone atop a loaded leader board at the Arnold Palmer
Shannon Reynolds | 14 March, 2018, 23:31

Notes: Tiger Woods is playing the tournament for the first time since 2013, when he won at Bay Hill for the eighth time.

However, it is remarkable that he's picked up so quickly on his latest return from injury, and is continuously progressing.

Woods hasn't qualified for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin next week and the fact that McIlroy will be the only Irish player involved says it all about where our tour players are ranked in the world right now.

Woods said he is taking it one step at a time since returning to competition this year after spinal fusion surgery one year ago.

Whether it's due to the resurgence of Woods and Phil Mickelson, or the continued brilliance of the likes of Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, or the fact that he's only teed it up twice this year, Jason Day has flown very much under the radar - despite looking as though he's back to his best after a hard 2017.

It was also the highest non-Masters rating since the 2015 PGA Championship. FedExCup leader: Justin Thomas.

"Now he's reintroduced into the mix". I have still got to go through the process of getting myself in position, but I understand this golf course, I've played it under so many different varying conditions.

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It's twice as long since he won a Major title too, with his last success coming at the US Open in 2008, beating Rocco Mediate in a play-off on that occasion.

"It was a tough, tough road", Woods told CNN's Living Golf show in Dubai in February 2017 during a short-lived comeback. "I've still got to do the work". But I've got to do some serious homework to really get to know and get the feel of how this golf course is playing this particular year, considering I haven't played here in five years. When the odds on the Masters were first opened in August, Woods was listed at 100-1. "As a whole I felt very good about what I did this week".

Marc Leishman will look to defend his title at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, but all eyes will be on Tiger Woods, who will make his first appearance at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida, in five years.

"As great of a champion as he is and was, I think it's fair to assume that those are obstacles that no human being might be able to overcome".

His lowest point came in 2017 when the 14-time Major victor was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs.

On the eve of the Bay Hill tournament Woods was named as U.S. captain for the next Presidents Cup, a role usually reserved for veterans at the end of their career.

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